Preferments - starters, biga,sponge,pollish et al
Ok This is my first post - I have this nagging question after experimenting with my bread making the last yr.
I have been reading reinharts text ( break bakers apprentice) and taken a bread baking class and I have come to the conclusion that
1. Preferments are critical for best tasting bread - however that it doesn't reeally matter - a Starter, biga, poolish, preferment, sponge - they only really differ by water content - so if you make a biga it las less water than a poolish you can use them in the same recipe you just need to adjust the water content. I usually find it very easy just to add a couple cups of flour and some water 1-2 cups, a pinch of instant yeast - the exact amounts are really not that important - just mix up a patch and let it ferment !
2. More confusing to me - is that if you are going to go through the trouble to make a preferment - How is that different from just making the whole dough batch mixing it up (without kneading) and letting the dough preferment 12-24 hours - ??? Then just prepare as usual adding flour or water ad needed ? seems to create very taste bread for me .
3. Recipe smecifi - I admit I hate following recipe's - once you develope a feel for the mix - (just like making pancakes - anyone who has to measure pancake mix and water and cannot just tell when the batter is the way they want it is well, either completly ocd or ??) I just get a feel for when the dough is the right consistency, try to get confortable with wetter doughs - add whatever I feel like into the dough, herbs, seeds, oats, barlley, different flours - whatever I have on hand , and all my breads seem to be quite tastey. So to me it seems like unless you are a bakery and trying to put out the exact loaf all the time - the whole idea is to have fun , be artistic, creative and experiment - don't be a slave to recipes .
I am interested in your comments .